Iranian authorities have secretly executed a young man who was a child at the time of his arrest and had spent nearly a decade on death row, Amnesty International has learned. Sajad Sanjari was hanged in Dizelabad prison in Kermanshah province at dawn on 2 August, but his family were not told until a prison official asked them to collect his body later that day.
In August 2010, police arrested Sajad Sanjari, who was then 15, over the fatal stabbing of a man. Sajad Sanjari said the man had tried to rape him and claimed he had acted in self-defence, but in 2012 he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
“With the secret execution of Sajad Sanjari, the Iranian authorities have yet again demonstrated the utter cruelty of their juvenile justice system. The use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime is absolutely prohibited under international law, and constitutes a cruel assault on child rights,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“The fact that Sajad Sanjari was executed in secret, denying him and his family even the chance to say goodbye, consolidates an alarming pattern of the Iranian authorities carrying out executions in secret or at short notice to minimize the chances of public and private interventions to save people’s lives. We urge the Iranian authorities to put an end to these abhorrent violations of the right to life and children’s rights by amending the penal code to ban the use of the death penalty against anyone who was under 18 at the time of the crime immediately.”
Sajad Sanjari was first convicted and sentenced to death in January 2012. During his trial he admitted stabbing the deceased but said he had done so in self-defence after the man tried to rape him. He said the man had threatened to attack him the previous day, so he carried a kitchen knife to scare him away.
Source: Amnesty International
Also Read: Iran official defends execution of minors